Wednesday, February 15, 2012

“Lord of the Sabbath”

First Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Lord of the Sabbath"
For the week of  12-18, 2012
In our memory verse for this week we hear Jesus saying that He is Lord of the Sabbath. This is because He created it. The Sabbath was made for man. Just shortly before Jesus spoke these words, the Pharisees accused Christ's disciples of performing a traditional unlawful practice on the Sabbath. What did they do? While walking through a grain field they plucked and ate some of the grain (Mark 2:23,24). Then immediately following Jesus made His statement of being Lord of the Sabbath. The very next Sabbath Jesus healed a man (3:1-6).
Regarding the Sabbath, there are two principles given here. The first is that the Sabbath was instituted by God for mankind's benefit and refreshment. The second one is that Jesus is the Master of the Sabbath – He has sovereign authority over its use, as demonstrated in the healing of the man with the shriveled hand on the Sabbath (3:1-5). This man's problem was not life-threatening. The healing could have waited until the next day. But Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath, demonstrating the two principles – that He is Lord of the Sabbath and that it was appropriate for Him to benefit that crippled man in healing him on the Sabbath.
Failure to use the Sabbath to meet this man's need, as stated in 2:27, was a harmful misuse of its purpose. The moral issue of "doing good" on the Sabbath was at stake, but the Pharisees refused to debate this issue. Their issue was a legalistic one. Consequently, they plotted to kill Jesus for disregarding what they believed to be the legal issue of transgression. But Jesus freed the Sabbath from legalistic encumbrances, and by grace delivered this man from his distress.
This brings us to the purpose of the Sabbath, both in creation and in redemption. In the beginning God created the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week as the completion of His creation. God then rested. So did Adam. Adam's first full day was one of rest – the rest of the Sabbath, the Lord's holy day. The day following, the first day of the week, Adam began his work. The word "Adam" is twofold in meaning. Adam was the first created human. It is also a corporate term.
The term "Adam" is used well over 500 times in the Old Testament in a corporate sense. The man Adam represented the human race. In Adam, humankind rested on creation Sabbath. And further, there was a second time when the entire human race rested on the Sabbath. That was when Jesus, the last Adam, the final Representative of the race died and rested in the tomb after His work of redemption on earth was finished. So, the entire human race rested on the Sabbath twice when its representatives – the two Adams rested.
When God created man, He created him in His likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). When man sinned, he lost, to a large degree, the image of God. However, God was not caught off guard. As soon as there was sin there was a Savior. The plan of redemption was immediately put into effect. Its purpose is the same as that of creation – that man should be in the image of God. Redemption is simply carrying out the purpose of creation in that God predestined us to be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).
The Sabbath is the memorial of redemption as well as of creation. What we observe in the Sabbath we also see in the Redeemer. The Sabbath points to what we find in Jesus. The Sabbath cannot be separated from Him. To reject the Sabbath means to reject Jesus. The following chart illustrates the relationship the Sabbath has to the redemption in Christ.
            The Sabbath Points to ...                                   ...Jesus
God Blessed        (Gen 2:2)The blessedness of forgiveness    (Acts 3:26)
Sanctified            (Gen 2:3)Sanctification         (John 17:19; 1 Cor 1:30)
Rested                 (Gen 2:3)Rest                                    (Matt 11:28,29)
Hallowed            (Ex 20:11)Holiness                                    (1 Pet 1:16)
Sunday's lesson states the truth that "God refers to" the "blessing of the Sabbath in the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, forever linking the creation Sabbath with the weekly Sabbath." Likewise, redemption Sabbath is forever linked to Jesus our Lord and Redeemer.
Waggoner wrote "the cross of Christ is 'the power of God.' 1 Cor. 1:18. The Gospel is 'the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.' Rom. 1:16. But ever since the creation of this world, the eternal power of God has been manifested in the things that he has made. Rom. 1:20. Therefore the cross of Christ – the Gospel – is the same power that is seen in creation. The same power of God by which man was created in the beginning, is now manifested through the Gospel to re-create him – to bring him back to the perfection which he had at first." E.J. Waggoner, "The Signs of the Times," February 4, 1897.
The Sabbath is forever linked with the power of creation, which is the power of the gospel of God unto salvation and thus forever connected to the cross which is "the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18). The Sabbath is the memorial of the cross. It points to the redeeming power of the cross (Ex 20:11; Deut 5:15; Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18). Justification of life that has come to all men came through God's judicial act, in Christ on Calvary, which resulted in the verdict of justification of life (Rom 5:18).
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath because He made it. He is the Lord of mankind because He made them. He is "the Lord Our Righteousness" because He was made to be sin for us in order that "we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21). And the Sabbath points to, and is, the memorial of "by faith" righteousness which is the gospel.
--Jerry Finnema

Raul Diaz